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How Starbucks’s COO Roz Brewer color-codes her workday

When you’re running a caffeine company, you’ve got to stay sharp—and extremely well organized.

How Starbucks’s COO Roz Brewer color-codes her workday
[Illustration: Tim McDonagh]
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When I look at the combination of my personal and professional life, I often feel like a traffic cop, trying to get everyone in their lane. . . . As the COO for Starbucks, it is a lot about creating the operational plan for the workweek, and setting the strategy and vision for the largest part of the company.

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My assistant and I have a calendar coding system. For example, meetings with direct reports are color coded in orange, meetings with other senior leaders are coded in green, personal time is coded as purple, and office time is coded in gray. Every Friday, I review my tentative schedule for Monday—tentative because it usually changes over the weekend—and take note of important upcoming meetings, team anniversaries, birthdays, etc.

I receive a lot of emails throughout the day and respond to all those that need my immediate attention. I like to take time on Fridays for “quick connects,” [when I] catch up via email, phone or Microsoft Teams video call, or even a text with folks I would like to recognize, ask a question [of], or discuss something [with]. It’s a nice way to have a one-on-one connection with members of my team.

I’m so much more productive when I get sleep. Pre-COVID, I was only getting four hours of sleep a night. One positive, if anything, that I can get out of this [era] is I can control my time more. [Now, I get] six to seven hours a night.

I work a good 10 to 12 hours a day, five days a week, and I work weekends also. I’m in retail. Retail is 24/7. I always feel like if a barista is making coffee, I should be doing something.

Time she gets up

6 or 6:30 a.m.

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First thing she does in the morning

“Meditate for 10 to 15 minutes.”

Her strategy for keeping up with the news

“I’m a CNBC fanatic. I try to catch it throughout the day. I might have it running in my office. [And] I’m addicted to Instagram. I don’t post but I do follow, and I don’t follow anything that’s worth value. I like all the junk.”

How she makes video calls more efficient (and enjoyable)

“What we’ve been doing lately is breaking bread together. We’ll send one meal to the team and we’ll all jump on the call.”

What she does with 15 minutes of free time

“Listen to music. I play it really loud, [so] it’s good that my office is over the garage. If I can get a quick workout in, I will. The other thing I might do in a 15-minute time frame is try to connect with all my colleagues who live alone.”

What she lets slide without feeling guilty

“Housework. I do not feel guilty about stepping over shoes in the middle of the floor. That is so not important to me.”

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Best habit

“Shoe shopping, to be honest with you.”

Worst habit

“Not calling it quits for the day when I should.”

Last thing she does at night

“Say good night to both my kids. That’s been quite special lately, to be able to do that.”

Time she goes to bed

Between 11 and 11:30 p.m.